GCCC should look at vote on proposed tobacco ban.
Students at Garden City Community College are again trying to have all tobacco — chew included — banned on campus.
The proposal from the Student Government Association would prohibit tobacco at all times and in all areas of GCCC.
The change would be more stringent that the existing city ban on smoking in public places, which still allows people to smoke outside places of business, so long as they're not near entrances.
The proposal at GCCC also would cover chewing tobacco that, while a danger to users, wouldn't threaten others in chewers' midst as smoking does — which could make the change tougher to stomach for those who defend the right to personal tobacco use if it doesn't harm others.
But at a time when it's encouraging to see students focus on wellness — and especially at a college with health care-related courses — the all-out ban makes sense.
In 2011, though, a comparable proposal at GCCC stalled. Enforcement was among concerns.
Before that point, some at GCCC suggested putting the proposed tobacco ban to a vote by students and faculty. This time around, GCCC's Board of Trustees should consider the same.
Garden City residents didn't have an opportunity to vote on the city's smoking ordinance. A petition drive to force a vote came up short, which helped prove solid support for the city's smoking restrictions.
That said, in an educational environment such as GCCC, a vote could do more by sparking discussion on tobacco use and stepped-up education on the health threat at a time lung cancer — the deadliest cancer — also is the most preventable form of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Chewing tobacco increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus and pancreas.
The tobacco ban at GCCC is to be addressed by the college board, likely at its June 18 meeting. While trustees could go ahead and decide on the proposal, they at least should discuss allowing all at GCCC to weigh in with a vote — and not only as a way to give everyone a voice, but also to encourage better understanding of an important health issue.